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Articles Exercise 1

Exercise based on the opening text in Thanks a Million


Please complete the following exercise using a/an/the/0 (no article) in the underlined spaces
where appropriate. Change capital letters to lower case letters at the beginning of a sentence if
necessary.
Ms Parrot, (1) ___ most famous lady detective of (2) ___ twenty-first century, was born in
(3) ___ United Kingdom in (4) ___ 1960s. Since then, she has been to many countries, including (5)
___ Portugal, Singapore and Australia, and has lived in (6) ___ northern hemisphere and (7) ___
southern hemisphere, as well as on (8) ___ equator. She has never been to (9) ___ Philippines or
(10) ___ United States, but she speaks (11) English, French and Portuguese. Like Sherlock Holmes,
(12) ___ famous detective, she plays (13) ___ violin, and sometimes practises up to five times (14)
___ day. She is also (15) ___ only person in (16) ___ world to have performed Tchaikovskys 1812
overture [a long piece of music] in one breath on (17) ___ recorder.
She has been (18) ___ detective for thirty years and claims that although many people
think that being (19) ___ detective is (20) ___ piece of cake, detectives generally work very hard
and its not all fun and games. (21) ___ detective is someone who solves mysteries, and (22) ___
people who contact Ms Parrot have some very unusual problems. Little information is available
about some of (23) ___ cases she has solved, but quite (24) ___ few of her most famous cases
have attracted worldwide attention and she has been offered up to (25) ___ thousand dollars (26)
___ hour to help solve mysteries such as (27) ___ case of (28) ___ Australian owl in (29) ___
uniform. (30) ___ bird laid (31) ___ egg in (32) ___ European nest in less than (33) ___ hour after
its arrival. What (34) ___ strange problem!
With great (35) ___ modesty, she has either declined such (36) ___ fee or donated (37) ___
money to (38) ___ poor, or to (39) ___ Grammar Survival Fund, believing that (40) ___ detective
should use their skills for (41) ___ common good.

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 1

Answers to Articles Exercise 1 Passage with correct articles inserted


Ms Parrot, (1) the most famous lady detective of (2) the twenty-first century, was born in
(3) the United Kingdom in (4) the 1960s. Since then, she has been to many countries, including (5)
0 Portugal, Singapore and Australia, and has lived in (6) the northern hemisphere and (7) the
southern hemisphere, as well as on (8) the equator. She has never been to (9) the Philippines or
(10) the United States, but she speaks (11) 0 English, French and Portuguese. Like Sherlock
Holmes, (12) the famous detective, she plays (13) the violin, and sometimes practises up to five
times (14) a day. She is also (15) the only person in (16) the world to have performed
Tchaikovskys 1812 overture in one breath on (17) the recorder.
She has been (18) a detective for thirty years and claims that although many people think
that being (19) a detective is (20) a piece of cake, detectives generally work very hard and its not
all fun and games. (21) A detective is someone who solves mysteries, and (22) the people who
contact Ms Parrot have some very unusual problems. Little information is available about some of
(23) the cases she has solved, but quite (24) a few of her most famous cases have attracted
worldwide attention and she has been offered up to (25) a thousand dollars (26) an hour to help
solve mysteries such as (27) the case of (28) an Australian owl in (29) a uniform. (30) The bird laid
(31) an egg in (32) a European nest in less than (33) an hour after its arrival. What (34) a strange
problem!
With great (35) 0 modesty, she has either declined such (36) a fee or donated (37) the
money to (38) the poor, or to (39) the Grammar Survival Fund, believing that (40) the detective
should use their skills for (41) the common good.

Detailed Answers to Articles Exercise 1


1
2
3
4
5

the
the
the
the
0

the

the

8
9
10
11
12

the
the
the
0
the

13
14

the
a

detective Singular countable noun; superlative (most)


century Singular countable noun; ordinal (twenty-first)
United Kingdom a country with United in the name
1960s a decade
Portugal Country names dont usually take an article, unless they are plural or
have United in the name
northern hemisphere Singular countable noun; a unique place there is only one
northern hemisphere
southern hemisphere Singular countable noun; a unique place there is only one
southern hemisphere
equator a unique place there is only one equator
Philippines a country with a plural name
United States a country with a plural name
English a language
detective Singular countable noun; everyone knows about this detective, so he is
not just a famous detective (one of many) but the famous detective whose name
everyone knows
violin Singular countable noun; playing an instrument
day Singular countable noun; a rate
Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 2

15
16
17

the
the
the

18
19
20

a
a
a

21

22

the

23

the

24
25
26
27
28

a
a
an
the
an

29
30

a
the

31
32

an
a

33
34

an
a

35
36
37

0
a
the

38
39

the
the

40
41

the
the

only person Singular countable noun preceded by a unique adjective (only)


world Singular countable noun; a unique place
recorder Singular countable noun; this is similar to she plays the recorder. It
refers to a kind of instrument, not a particular example of that instrument.
detective Singular countable noun; a job
detective Singular countable noun; a job
piece Singular countable noun; a single part of a whole. (A piece of cake is also an
idiom meaning very simple.)
detective Singular countable noun; definition. Definitions can take a or the. In
this case, it means that any detective is a person who solves mysteries.
people Plural countable noun followed by a relative clause (who contact Ms
Parrot)
cases Plural countable noun followed by a relative clause (abbreviated from which
she has solved)
few Pronoun (a few); positive, meaning some
thousand A number; a is used instead of one
hour Singular countable noun starting with a vowel sound; a rate.
case Singular countable noun; specific (we know which case) and followed by of
owl Singular countable noun; first mention. Australian starts with a vowel sound,
so it takes an. In many detective novels, you will see titles such as The case of the
city clerk (by Agatha Christie). This is a convention in detective novel titles, and
draws the reader into the plot, as though they are already familiar with the case.
uniform Singular, countable noun starting with a consonant sound; first mention
bird Singular, countable noun; we know which bird the owl that was mentioned
previously
egg Singular, countable noun starting with a vowel sound; first mention
European nest Singular, countable noun preceded by an adjective starting with a
consonant sound; first mention
hour Singular, countable noun starting with a vowel sound; first mention
problem Singular, countable noun; first mention. This is also an exclamation, and
exclamations often take a
modesty Uncountable noun
fee Singular, countable noun; expression such a takes a
money Uncountable noun; money is associated with fee, so we know which
money and it becomes definite
poor Uncountable noun; an adjective used as a noun
Grammar Survival Fund Singular, countable noun; names of organisations usually
take the
detective Singular, countable noun; a representative of a class
good Uncountable noun; an adjective used as a noun

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 3

Articles Exercise 2
Exercise based on the opening text in Thanks a Million
This exercise is very difficult because no gaps are indicated.
Can you add articles (a/an/the) where necessary in the following text? Change capital letters to
lower case letters at the beginning of a sentence if necessary.

Ms Parrot, most famous lady detective of twenty-first century, was born in United Kingdom in
1960s. Since then, she has been to many countries, including Portugal, Singapore and Australia,
and has lived in northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere, as well as on equator. She has
never been to Philippines or United States, but she speaks English, French and Portuguese. Like
Sherlock Holmes, famous detective, she plays violin, and sometimes practises up to five times day.
She is also only person in world to have performed Tchaikovskys 1812 overture in one breath on
recorder.

She has been detective for thirty years and claims that although many people think that being
detective is piece of cake, detectives generally work very hard and its not all fun and games.
detective is someone who solves mysteries, and people who contact Ms Parrot have some very
unusual problems. Little information is available about some of cases she has solved, but quite few
of her most famous cases have attracted worldwide attention and she has been offered up to
thousand dollars hour to help solve mysteries such as case of Australian owl in uniform. bird laid
egg in European nest in less than hour after its arrival. What strange problem!

With great modesty, she has either declined such fee or donated money to poor, or to Grammar
Survival Fund, believing that detective should use their skills for common good.

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 4

Answers to Articles Exercise 2 Passage with correct articles inserted


Ms Parrot, the most famous lady detective of the twenty-first century, was born in the United
Kingdom in the 1960s. Since then, she has been to many countries, including Portugal, Singapore
and Australia, and has lived in the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere, as well as
on the equator. She has never been to the Philippines or the United States, but she speaks English,
French and Portuguese. Like Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, she plays the violin, and
sometimes practises up to five times a day. She is also the only person in the world to have
performed Tchaikovskys 1812 overture in one breath on the recorder.
She has been a detective for thirty years and claims that although many people think that being a
detective is a piece of cake, detectives generally work very hard and its not all fun and games. A
detective is someone who solves mysteries, and the people who contact Ms Parrot have some
very unusual problems. Little information is available about some of the cases she has solved, but
quite a few of her most famous cases have attracted worldwide attention and she has been
offered up to a thousand dollars an hour to help solve mysteries such as the case of an Australian
owl in a uniform. The bird laid an egg in a European nest in less than an hour after its arrival. What
a strange problem!
With great modesty, she has either declined such a fee or donated the money to the poor, or to
the Grammar Survival Fund, believing that the detective should use their skills for the common
good.

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 5

Detailed Answers to Articles Exercise 2


Ms Parrot, (1) the most famous lady detective of (2) the twenty-first century, was born in (3) the
United Kingdom in (4) the 1960s. Since then, she has been to many countries, including (5)
Portugal, Singapore and Australia, and has lived in (6) the northern hemisphere and (7) the
southern hemisphere, as well as on (8) the equator. She has never been to (9) the Philippines or
the United States, but she speaks (10) English, French and Portuguese. Like Sherlock Holmes, (11)
the famous detective, she plays (12) the violin, and sometimes practises up to five times (13) a
day. She is also (14) the only person in (15) the world to have performed Tchaikovskys 1812 (16)
overture in one (17) breath on (18) the recorder.
She has been (19) a detective for (20) thirty years and claims that although (21) many people think
that being (22) a detective is (23) a piece of cake, (24) detectives generally work very hard and its
not all (25) fun and (26) games. (27) A detective is someone who solves (28) mysteries, and (29)
the people who contact Ms Parrot have some very unusual (30) problems. (31) Little information is
available about some of (32) the cases she has solved, but quite (33) a few of (34) her most
famous cases have attracted worldwide (35) attention and she has been offered up to (36) a
thousand dollars (37) an hour to help solve (38) mysteries such as (39) the case of (40) an
Australian owl in (41) a uniform. (42) The bird laid (43) an egg in (44) a European nest in less than
(45) an hour after (46) its arrival. What (47) a strange problem!
With great (48) modesty, she has either declined such (49) a fee or donated (50) the money to (51)
the poor, or to (52) the Grammar Survival Fund, believing that (53) the detective should use (54)
their skills for (55) the common good.

The tips below indicate why a certain article is used or not used in the text above. This text is also
explained in detail at the beginning of the quiz show in the video.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

the most famous lady detective superlative


the twenty-first century ordinal
the United Kingdom a country with United in the name
the 1960s a decade
Portugal, Singapore, Australia country names dont usually take an article, unless they
are plural or have United in the name
the northern hemisphere a unique place there is only one northern hemisphere
the southern hemisphere a unique place there is only one southern hemisphere
the equator a unique place there is only one equator
the Philippines, the United States countries with plural names (other examples are the
Netherlands, the Maldives and the Seychelles)
English, French, Portuguese the names of languages do not take articles
the famous detective everyone knows about this detective, so he is not just a famous
detective (one of many) but the famous detective whose name everyone knows
plays the violin playing an instrument
five times a day a rate
the only a unique adjective
the world a unique place

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 6

16

17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40

41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50

Tchaikovskys 1812 overture the noun overture is preceded by a possessive


(Tchaikovkskys). This piece of music is sometimes called the 1812 overture, because there
is only one famous piece of music with this name.
one breath the word one replaces an article
the recorder this is similar to she plays the recorder. It refers to a kind of instrument, not
a particular example of that instrument.
a detective someones job
thirty years no article is needed because there is a number
many people no article is needed after many
a detective someones job
a piece of cake a single part of a whole. (A piece of cake is also an idiom meaning very
simple.)
detectives generally plural and not specific
fun uncountable noun and not specific
games plural noun and not specific. (Fun and games is an idiom referring to something
enjoyable.)
a detective definition. Definitions can take a or the. In this case, it means that any
detective is a person who solves mysteries.
mysteries plural noun used generally
the people who contact Ms Parrot noun followed by a relative clause (who contact Ms
Parrot)
some very unusual problems no article is needed after some
little information negative not very much.
the cases she has solved noun followed by a relative clause (abbreviated from which she
has solved)
a few positive, meaning some
her most famous cases possessive her, so no need for an article
attention uncountable noun used generally
a thousand dollars a is used instead of one
an hour a rate, and hour starts with a vowel sound so it takes an
mysteries not specific
the case of specific and followed by of
an Australian owl first mention of a singular countable noun; Australian starts with a
vowel sound, so it takes an. In many detective novels, you will see titles such as The case of
the city clerk (by Agatha Christie). This is a convention in detective novel titles, and draws
the reader into the plot, as though they are already familiar with the case.
a uniform first mention of a singular, countable noun
the bird we know which bird the owl that was mentioned previously
an egg first mention of a singular, countable noun starting with a vowel sound
a European nest first mention of a singular, countable noun preceded by an adjective
starting with a consonant sound
an hour first mention of a singular, countable noun starting with a vowel sound
its arrival no need for an article because of the possessive its
what a strange problem first mention of a singular, countable noun. This is also an
exclamation, and exclamations often take a
modesty uncountable noun
such a fee expression such a takes a
the money money is associated with fee, so we know which money and it becomes
definite
Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 7

51
52
53
54
55

the poor an adjective used as a noun


the Grammar Survival Fund names of organisations usually take the
the detective a representative of a class
their skills no need for an article because of the possessive their
the common good an adjective used as a noun

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 8

Articles Exercise 3
Please complete the following exercise using a/an/the/0 (no article) in the underlined spaces
where appropriate. (Some articles have been included for you, but others are missing.) Change
capital letters to lower case letters at the beginning of a sentence if necessary.

There has never been (1) ___ more exciting time to produce (2) ___ new dictionary. Everything is
changing and expanding: the English language itself, the technology that helps us to describe it,
and (3) ___ needs and goals of those learning and teaching (4) ___ English. (5) ___ 1980s saw the
development of (6) ___ first large corpora (special collections) of English text.

(7) ___ Another of the Macmillan English Dictionarys innovations is that two similar but separate
editions have been created from (8) ___ same database: one for learners whose main target
variety is (9) ___ American English, (10) ___ other for learners of British English. The differences
are small but significant.

The Macmillan English Dictionary is the product of good linguistic data and high-quality people. It
has been (11) ___ privilege to work with such (12) ___ talented and creative team, and I would like
to thank (13) ___ team for producing such (14) ___ excellent book. I hope you enjoy (15) ___
results of our hard work and find the dictionary (16) ___ pleasure to use.

(adapted from Rundell, M 2002, Introduction, Macmillan English dictionary for advanced
learners, Macmillan Education, Oxford, p. x.)

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 9

Answers to Articles Exercise 3


There has never been (1) a more exciting time to produce (2) a new dictionary. Everything is
changing and expanding: the English language itself, the technology that helps us to describe it,
and (3) the needs and goals of those learning and teaching (4) 0 English. (5) The 1980s saw the
development of (6) the first large corpora (special collections) of English text.
(7) 0 Another of the Macmillan English Dictionarys innovations is that two similar but separate
editions have been created from (8) the same database: one for learners whose main target
variety is (9) 0 American English, (10) the other for learners of British English. The differences are
small but significant.
The Macmillan English Dictionary is the product of good linguistic data and high-quality people. It
has been (11) a unique privilege to work with such (12) a talented and creative team, and I would
like to thank (13) the team for producing such (14) an excellent book. I hope you enjoy (15) the
results of our hard work and find the dictionary (16) a pleasure to use.
(adapted from Rundell, M 2002, Introduction, Macmillan English dictionary for advanced
learners, Macmillan Education, Oxford, p. x.)

(1)
(2)
(3)

a
a
the

(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
(10)
(11)

0
the
the
0
the
0
the
a

(12)
(13)

a
the

(14)

an

(15)

the

(16)

time Singular countable noun; first mention; not specific


dictionary Singular countable noun; first mention; not specific
needs and goals Plural, countable nouns; followed by of and therefore specific, as
we know whose needs and goals the writer is referring to. We do not need to
repeat the for goals
English Uncountable noun used generally, so no article
1980s Decade
first Ordinal
Another No need for an article, as it is included in another
same database Unique adjective same
American English Uncountable noun used generally, so no article
other We know this is the second of two databases, so it is specific - the other
unique privilege Singular countable noun; first mention; not specific; adjective
starts with a consonant sound
team Singular countable noun; first mention; word pattern such a
team Singular countable noun; specific, as we know which team (it has just been
mentioned)
excellent book Singular countable noun; first mention; word pattern such a
followed by a vowel sound in the adjective
results Plural countable noun; specific, as we know which results: the results of
our hard work
pleasure Singular countable noun; first mention

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 10

More Detailed Answers to Articles Exercise 3


There has never been (1) a more exciting time to produce (2) a new dictionary. Everything is
changing and expanding: (a) the English language itself, (b) the technology that helps us to
describe it, and (3) the needs and goals of those learning and teaching (4) 0 English. (5) The 1980s
saw (c) the development of (6) the first large corpora (special collections) of English (d) text.
(7) 0 Another of (e) the Macmillan English Dictionarys innovations is that (f) two similar but
separate editions have been created from (8) the same database: one for (g) learners whose main
target variety is (9) 0 American English, (10) the other for learners of (h) British English. (i) The
differences are small but significant.
(j) The Macmillan English Dictionary is (k) the product of good linguistic (l) data and high-quality
(m) people. It has been (11) a unique privilege to work with such (12) a talented and creative
team, and I would like to thank (13) the team for producing such (14) an excellent book. I hope
you enjoy (15) the results of (n) our hard work and find (o) the dictionary (16) a pleasure to use.
(adapted from Rundell, M 2002, Introduction, Macmillan English dictionary for advanced
learners, Macmillan Education, Oxford, p. x.)
Detailed Answers
(1)
a
time Singular countable noun; first mention; not specific
(2)
a
dictionary Singular countable noun; first mention; not specific
(a)
the
English language Singular countable noun; we know which language English so
it is specific
(b)
the
technology Uncountable noun; we know which technology is being referred to
the technology that helps us to describe it and a relative clause is used, so it is
specific
(3)
the
needs and goals Plural countable nouns; followed by of and therefore specific, as
we know whose needs and goals the writer is referring to. We do not need to
repeat the for goals
(4)
0
English Uncountable noun used generally, so no article
(5)
the
1980s Decade
(c)
the
development Uncountable noun; we know which development is referred to the
development of the first large corpora so it is specific
(6)
the
first Ordinal
(d)
0
text Uncountable noun; English text in general
(7)
0
Another No need for an article, as it is included in another
(e)
the
Macmillan English Dictionary Singular countable noun; a specific dictionary with a
name
(f)
two editions Plural countable noun; a number is given, so no article is necessary. This is
the first time these editions are introduced to us, so they are not specific. If the
author referred to them again, he could say The two editions I mentioned earlier.
(8)
the
same database Unique adjective same
(g)
0
learners - Plural countable noun; not specific we do not know anything about
these learners generally except that they want to learn American English
(9)
0
American English Uncountable noun used generally, so no article
(10) the
other We know this is the second of two databases, so it is specific the other
(h)
0
British English Uncountable noun used generally
Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 11

(i)

the

(j)

the

(k)

the

(l)
(m)
(11)

0
0
a

(12)
(13)

a
the

(14)

an

(15)

the

(n)

(o)

the

(16)

differences Plural countable noun; we know which differences the differences


between the two varieties of English
Macmillan English Dictionary Singular countable noun; a specific dictionary with a
name
product Singular countable noun followed by of; you could say a product, but
that would sound as though it is just one of many, whereas the writer wants to
stress this particular product
data Plural countable noun; general, not specific
people Plural form of person; general, not specific
unique privilege Singular countable noun; first mention; not specific; adjective
starts with a consonant sound
team Singular countable noun; first mention; word pattern such a
team Singular countable noun; specific, as we know which team (it has just been
mentioned)
excellent book Singular countable noun; first mention; word pattern such a
followed by a vowel sound in the adjective
results Plural countable noun; specific, as we know which results: the results of
our hard work
our hard work Uncountable noun preceded by our (a possessive
adjective/possessive determiner)
dictionary Singular countable noun; definite because we know which dictionary
the writer is referring to
pleasure Singular countable noun; first mention

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 12

Articles Exercise 4
Can you add articles (a/an/the) where necessary in the following text? (Some articles have been
included for you, but others are missing.)
The Harvard referencing system has two essential components: brief in-text references
throughout your assignment and a comprehensive list of references at end of your assignment.
The in-text reference should give date that the work you are referring to was published, the family
name of the author and, in the case of quotations, page where the quotation was found. It is easy
system, once you understand it.

(adapted from Hay, I, Bochner, D & Dungey, C 1997, Making the grade, Oxford University Press Australia,
Sydney, p. 155)

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 13

Answers to Articles Exercise 4


(1)

the

(2)
(3)

the
the

(4)

an

Singular countable noun; followed by of and therefore specific, as we know what


the writer is referring to
Singular countable noun; specific, as there is only one publication date
Singular countable noun; specific, as it refers to a particular page: the page where
the information can be found
Singular countable noun; first mention; one of many systems, so not specific; begins
with a vowel sound

More Detailed Answers to Articles Exercise 4


The comments on the underlined articles below have been added for extra information.
(a) The Harvard referencing system has two essential (b) components: brief in-text (c) references
throughout your (d) assignment and (e) a comprehensive list of (f) references at (1) the end of
your (g) assignment. (h) The in-text reference should give (2) the date that (i) the work you are
referring to was published, (j) the family name of (k) the author and, in (l) the case of (m)
quotations, (3) the page where (n) the quotation was found. It is (4) an easy system, once you
understand it.
(adapted from Hay, I, Bochner, D & Dungey, C 1997, Making the grade, Oxford University Press Australia,
Sydney, p. 155)

(a)
(b)

the
0

(c)

(d)
(e)
(f)

0
a
0

(1)

the

(g)
(h)

0
the

(2)
(i)

the
the

(j)

the

(k)

the

Singular countable noun; we know which referencing system, so it takes the


Plural countable noun preceded by the number two, so there is no need for an
article
Plural countable noun; not specific because we are talking about references
generally in the assignment. However, you could also say the brief in-text references
because we know they are the ones used in your assignment, so they are specific.
Both these options are correct.
Singular countable noun preceded by the possessive your
First mention of a singular countable noun
Plural countable noun, not specific. However, you could also say the references
because we know which references we are talking about the ones in your
assignment.
Singular countable noun; followed by of and therefore specific, as we know what
the writer is referring to
Singular countable noun preceded by the possessive your
Singular countable noun; specific because we have mentioned the idea of an in-text
reference before
Singular countable noun; specific, as there is only one publication date
Singular countable noun; specific because it is part of a relative clause the work
you are referring to
Singular countable noun; specific because the noun is followed by of and we know
which name we are talking about
Singular countable noun; specific because we know which author the one in the
reference
Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 14

(l)

the

(m)
(3)

0
the

(n)

the

(4)

an

Singular countable noun; specific because the noun is followed by of and we know
which case we are talking about the case of quotations
Plural countable noun; not specific any quotations
Singular countable noun; specific, as it refers to a particular page: the page where
the information can be found
Singular countable noun; specific because we know which quotation is being
referred to the one in your text
Singular countable noun; first mention; one of many systems, so not specific; begins
with a vowel sound

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 15

Articles Exercise 5
Can you add articles (a/an/the) where necessary in the following text?
N.B. This exercise is very difficult and caused a lot of discussion among speakers of English as a
first language. Different choices of article are possible in several cases, depending on how the
noun is interpreted. Note that mercenary can be both a noun and an adjective, and reward can
be either a countable or an uncountable noun.
There are different kinds of reward. There is reward which has no natural connexion with things
you do to earn it, and is quite foreign to desires that ought to accompany those things. Money is
not natural reward of love; that is why we call man mercenary if he marries woman for sake of her
money. But marriage is proper reward for real lover, and he is not mercenary for desiring it.
General who fights well in order to get a peerage is mercenary; general who fights for victory is
not, victory being proper reward of battle as marriage is proper reward of love.
(Lewis, CS 1949, Transposition and other addresses, Geoffrey Bles, London, p. 22)

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 16

Answers to Articles Exercise 5


The authors original article usage is given in bold font, with alternatives in brackets.
There are different kinds of reward. There is (1) the reward which has no natural connexion with
(2) the (0) things you do to earn it, and is quite foreign to (3) the (0) desires that ought to
accompany those things. Money is not (4) the natural reward of love; that is why we call (5) a man
mercenary if he marries (6) a woman for (7) the sake of her money. But marriage is (8) the (a)
proper reward for (9) a (the) real lover, and he is not mercenary for desiring it. (10) A (the) general
who fights well in order to get a peerage is (11) (a) mercenary; (12) a (the) general who fights for
victory is not, victory being (13) the proper reward of battle as marriage is (14) the proper reward
of love.
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
(10)
(11)
(12)
(13)
(14)

the
the
the
the
a
a
the
the
a
a
the
a
the
0
a
a
the
the
the

reward - Singular countable noun followed by a relative clause


things - Plural countable noun followed by a relative clause
desires - Plural countable noun followed by a relative clause
reward Singular countable noun followed by of
man Singular countable noun, first mention, referring to any man
woman Singular countable noun, first mention, referring to any woman
sake Singular countable noun followed by of
reward Singular countable noun; the only proper reward
reward Singular countable noun; one of many possible rewards
lover Singular countable noun, first mention
lover Singular countable noun; representative of a class of people who love
general Singular countable noun; first mention; any general
general Singular countable noun; defined by a relative clause
mercenary Adjective
mercenary Singular countable noun; first mention
general Singular countable noun; any general
general Singular countable noun; defined by a relative clause
reward Singular countable noun; the only proper reward
reward Singular countable noun; the only proper reward

Julia Miller, Articles exercises, English for Uni, www.adelaide.edu.au/english-for-uni 17